Judge keeps bail at $500K for Medina man, while reducing it for Rochester resident

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 August 2017 at 1:29 pm

ALBION – Two people who had their bail set by Orleans County Court Judge James Punch asked his interim successor to reduce the bail on Monday.

Punch retired on July 29 after nearly 27 years as a county judge.

He held court for the last day on July 28 and his last court decision was setting bail for Jerry Gray, 44, of Medina.

Gray was arrested on July 26 and charged with eight counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree, burglary in the second degree, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree.

Punch set bail at $500,000 cash or $1 million property bond.

Gray’s attorney, Nathan Pace, asked Sara Sheldon, the interim county judge, to reduce bail to $10,000.

Pace said Gray’s recent arrest stems from his struggles to stay away from drugs. Gray had been sober but had a relapse, Pace said.

Gray has five prior felonies, five failures to appear in court and has had his probation and parole revoked.

His 19 prior arrests include unlawful chases with police, and auto thefts.

“He has a horrendous criminal history,” District Attorney Joe Cardone told the judge.

Cardone asked that bail stay where it is. In the most recent crime, Gray allegedly entered someone else’s home at night, while they were in the house.

Gray dropped a receipt with his name on it in the house, which helped law enforcement identify him, Cardone said.

While Cardone spoke in court, the judge reviewed Gary’s criminal history.

“I’m only at 2004 and this is pretty bad,” she said. “Wow, that’s a lot of thefts and burglaries.”

The judge decided to keep bail where Punch set it – $500,000 cash or $1 million bond.

The judge however decided to cut the bail in half for a Rochester man who faces 13 counts of drug charges.

Judge Punch set bail at $300,000 on May 8 for Victor T. Simmons, 46. Punch cited a 37-page criminal history for Simmons, which includes four felonies in New York State and other out-of-state convictions.

His most recent charges involve selling heroin and cocaine in Albion.

Simmons acknowledged he has a “37-page rap sheet,” but he said many of those arrests did not result in convictions. He said he has been in prison four different times.

Simmons said he started using drugs when he was 16. He wants a reduced bail so he has a better chance of getting out so he can help his wife with their 14-year-old daughter.

The bail set by Punch at $300,000, “is a ransom,” Simmons said. “I don’t have that kind of money.”

Cardone asked Sheldon to keep bail at $300,000. He said Simmons has a history of failing to appear for court.

The judge decided to reduce bail to $150,000 cash and $300,000 bond.

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